FJHRA/HSCC “Silverline” Championship Rounds 4 & 5 – Rear Grid

Cadwell Park Wolds Trophy; 5th – 6th June 2021

Rear Engined Grid;

An excellent entry of 29 cars arrived at the picturesque Cadwell Park circuit for the 4th and 5th rounds of the Silverline Championship.  Some competitors arrived on Friday to take advantage of a day of testing, and whilst rain in the afternoon curtailed most people’s activities, there were many takers for Tony and Elaine Pearson’s fish ‘n’ chip paddock delivery service!

It was sunshine however for Saturday morning when the cars ventured out onto the track. An early casualty was James Buckton who was having his first drive both in FJ and in Vern Williamson’s Lynx. After just a lap he stopped with what was initially thought might be fuel pump failure but turned out to be a problem with the fuel tank changeover valve.  Everyone else was able to start chipping away at the times and Child, Sykes, Drake and Pickering were on the pace immediately and set their best times on only their second lap.  It soon became apparent though that after a minor issue with seat position had been resolved with the scrutineers, Adrian Russell (Lotus 22) was going to be the man to beat. On only his second lap he set a time that would prove good enough for pole but he improved still further on his final qualifying lap.

Second fastest with a time not quite a second slower than Russell was Tim Child going very well in his Cooper T59.  Next up was an excellent performance from Nic Carlton-Smith showing that perhaps the Kieft has always been under-rated or maybe the driver is just astonishingly good!  Completing the second row was John Sykes making a welcome return in the familiar Merlyn Mk.5/7 after only a handful of appearances in recent years and bemoaning the plight of old tyres for a lack of speed that still had him fourth fastest.

Chris Drake’s Elva and Jonathan Fyda’s U2 occupied the third row, the former dialling himself back into the Elva 300 and the latter struggling with a wayward gearchange.

Martin Aubert’s Lotus 20 had a trouble-free run to the fourth row alongside James Hicks in the Caravelle III.  James overcooked it in Hall Bends, spun and stalled and Jeremy Deeley spun in sympathy.  Deeley was soon on his way but it took the Caravelle a while for the engine to return to duty and continue.  Trevor Griffiths’ Emeryson and Peter Anstiss’ Lotus ran reliably to make up the fifth row.

Of the rest, Keith Pickering returned having repaired the damage caused by drive-shaft UJ failure at Snetterton but was disappointed to be a couple of seconds slower than on Friday ending up thirteenth.  Crispian Besley had a flat battery in the collection area and needed a push-start after which he felt he would have gone quicker except for a mysterious misfire.  Bill Cowing returned, this time in his attractive Ginetta G8 and having had a medical matter attended to since he was last at Cadwell he was feeling better and looking forward to having a good race.  However, a scrutineer then noticed that the top of his helmet was above the top of the roll-hoop; no amount of hammering Bill down into the cockpit would have helped so, sadly, he was sidelined for the rest of the weekend.  David Drew’s Ausper managed four laps before the throttle cable snapped but this was fixed in time for the race start.  For Peter Fenichel, it was his first time at Cadwell in a Junior, having previously raced pre-war cars here some ten years prior.  Chris Wilks was back for the first time this year with the fascinating Deep Sanderson, the engine of which had seized last time out but had now been rebuilt.  

 Race 1.  

When the lights changed it was Adrian Russell that made the best start from pole and led into Coppice. Tim Child started in second gear by mistake and was swallowed up by the pack.  John Sykes briefly took Nic Carlton-Smith for second as the pack streamed through Coppice and on up to Charlies.  By the Mountain, Nic was back up to second.  Chris Drake was hot on Sykes’ tail in the Elva while behind him was a gaggle of cars wanting to be fifth led by Hicks, then Aubert, Jonathan Fyda still struggling with gears, Griffiths’ Emeryson and Peter Anstiss’ Lotus. Child was down in tenth at the end of lap 1 but determined to make forward progress. 

Keith Pickering suffered a hub failure and stopped on the first lap remarking afterwards that the driveshafts were now stronger so maybe the hub was the weakest part next in line for attention.  Chris Wilks in the Deep Sanderson also failed to complete a lap with his car being stuck in fourth gear.  

On lap 2, Russell continued to lead unchallenged, pulling out a couple of seconds a lap on the others until the end.  Child quickly made up several places to get in amongst the fifth place scrap and by the end of lap 4 the place was his.  Those behind him had become a little more spread out and James Hicks in the Caravelle had tumbled back to fifteenth after a moment.  John Fyda’s Brabham had been making steady progress and reached 7th place before sliding back down the field and finally spinning gently into the tyre wall in Hall Bends on lap 10.  Jonathan Fyda persevered with gearchange difficulties but called it a day on lap 8.  James Buckton in the Lynx was quickly becoming acclimatised to the car and was up to tenth by the end of lap five before he too succumbed to gear selection issues and had to be winched off the circuit at the top of the Mountain.  Gears and their linkages take a bit of a pounding at Cadwell! Geoff Underwood in the Dolphin retired with engine maladies and Simon Hewes braked too late for Park on the penultimate lap and spun off into retirement.

Martin Aubert’s early charge appeared to lose momentum about halfway through and he fell back into the clutches of Peter Anstiss and Trevor Griffiths and the three of them enjoyed a nice battle.  Aubert held on ahead of the other two to the finish and Griffiths squeezed past Anstiss with a couple of laps to go. 

Adrian Russell reeled off the remaining laps to take a fine and dominant victory overall and in Class E1. Tim Child was fourth overall and second in class E1 but had the consolation of fastest lap of the race, over a second faster than pole time.  Nic Carlton-Smith was second overall and took the Class C2 win and Chris Drake took the final podium place and class D2.  The final class win went to Bob Birrell in class D1 who only had to be in it to win it!

Race 2.

With just over 21 hours between the end of Saturday’s race and the start on Sunday quite a few of the competitors who didn’t see Saturday’s chequered flag had work to do to be on the grid the following day.

Keith Pickering’s rear hub had been welded up thanks to help from Stuart Roach.  Chris Wilks now had a full set of gears in the interesting Deep Sanderson.  Simon Hewes and John Fyda who had both spun off had not incurred any significant damage so were ready for another go.  Jonathan Fyda tried again with the U2 and Crispian Besley’s team had changed most of the ignition components on the misfiring Cooper so he was hopeful of a better run.  James Buckton in the Lynx and Geoff Underwood in the Dolphin both withdrew as their problems were not so easy to fix.  A late addition was Stuart Roach in father Keith’s front-engined Condor who was allowed to start from the back having been unable to participate in the second front-engined race following his retirement from the first in his Alexis Mk 2.

Once again, it was poleman Adrian Russell who got the jump on the rest as the lights went out.  Nic Carlton-Smith slotted in behind followed by a fast-starting Chris Drake who was up to third.  Tim Child followed and then John Sykes.  Jonathan Fyda’s U2 was already slipping back from his third row starting position suggesting that yesterday’s gear change problems had not been successfully fixed.  By lap 6 the struggle became too much and he retired. 

As Adrian Russell consolidated his lead, the battle for second was far from over.  Tim Child got past Chris Drake on the seventh lap and took second place from Nic Carlton-Smith on the eighth.  That was how they finished with John Sykes some way back in fifth and Martin Aubert completing the top six.

Crispian Besley said his misfire had seemed slightly better at the start of the race but then worsened.  He stopped at the pits to by-pass the master switch but when that made no difference he pulled into the paddock after completing 8 laps.  Stuart Roach in the Condor completed a frustrating weekend with retirement after 10 laps, with a broken gear lever, but not before a remarkable drive, getting the front engined car up to 6th overall.  Finally, James Hicks in the Caravelle had an alarming moment when the throttle return spring failed and put him into a spin (which was fortunately harmless) and out of the race.   

Adrian Russell raced to another comfortable overall and class E1 victory with 20 seconds in hand over second placed Tim Child. Adrian also took fastest lap some eight tenths faster than Nic Carlton-Smith had managed on Saturday.  He remarked that the Lotus 22 was an absolute delight to drive and gave credit to Andrew Hibberd who had been responsible for the overall set-up of the car.  Winning both races meant that he was also the winner on aggregate and was therefore awarded the Barry Westmoreland Trophy to add to his collection.

Nic Carlton-Smith completed a great weekend for the Kieft with class C2 victory and Chris Drake took third overall and the honours in Class D2.  Bob Birrell once again had Class D1 all to himself.

This is my first report for FJ and I would like to thank all those competitors who willingly took a few moments to tell me about their problems and successes and how their weekend was going.  I learned everything I know about race reporting from Peter Anstiss who used to do such an outstanding job in Monoposto in the 1970s and 80s.  He always tried to make time to speak to everyone and I know I didn’t quite achieve that so if I missed your particularly exciting moment or spectacular disaster, please accept my apologies!

John Fox.